The Arena of Nightmares
Drusus snapped back into reality as his face slammed into the coarse blood-stained sand. He spat furiously trying to remove the salty taste of dirt in his mouth. The roar of applause, laughter and jeering hit his eardrum like a mallet. As he struggled to rise up off the filthy ground, his vision blurred into focus. He brushed off his military fatigues and took in his surroundings. Everything was almost pitch black dark, save a few violet torches mounted upon the walls. Drusus looked around him. He was surrounded by fifteen foot high walls with vicious looking spikes, some of which had severed heads skewered upon them. Above the walls, stadium seating rose high into the devilish sky. As Drusus peered into the shadow, he realized the actuality of this Emperor forsaken place. He was about to fight for his life in one of the fabled gladiator arenas found on the planet Comorragh, home of the sadistic Dark Eldar.
Drusus had heard of the crazed Dark Eldar, but he only knew of them through stories the sergeants spread around. The sergeants told them of torture chambers and lithe dark creatures stabbing and prodding with all sorts of heinous devices. They also spoke of gladiator arenas and fighting against horrid creatures. Drusus scoffed at these tales and thought they were a load of groxshit. As a member of the Imperial Guard, the hammer of the Imperium of Man, you heard quite a number of tales. Many of them were quite terribly to hear. For the most part, Drusus ignored them. Giant green warriors and creatures that cast bouts of fire from their palms? Who on Terra would believe that sort of nonsense? Granted, the galaxy was a big place, but the reality of that seemed unlikely. He put it aside as rumor and myth, content with his post on Aldera as a Planetary Defense Force with the rest of his platoon. Sadly, he was not going to be content much longer.
The last thing Drusus could remember was a raid on his post. He leaped out of his quarters carrying a standard Laspistol hearing the brutally loud alarms. As he turned a corner, he remembered feeling a small sting like an angry hornet in the back of his neck. His vision blurred and his veins were searing with agony as the neurotoxins flowed through him. He fell to the ground almost immediately, and he could hardly remember anything since.
Now, he realized that these stories were real. He was going to die, and there was almost no way to stop it. Suddenly, he forgot all military training and doctrine, and he was overcome by the innate instinct of survival. This gave him a sense of false bravado, but he was not going out without a fight.
At this thought, a loud clattering behind him caught his attention. He turned and noticed a chainsword sitting by his feet. The weight of the weapon felt good as his lifted it from the sand. Viscera and gore stained the blade, chunks still caught in the razor sharp teeth of the blade. Drusus pressed the ignition rune and felt the power of the blade. The teeth spun rapidly along the length of the blade, creating a small roar amongst the cacophony of the crowd. He said a quick prayer to the Emperor, asking for strength to win this fight. Drusus closed his eyes and then looked across the arena to the portcullis on the opposite end. He saw through the dim lighting, a slim man seating upon a dais. The man seemed to be lounging, being fed by two naked women. The man slapped away the women, and he rose from his seat. In a harsh language, he shouted to the audience. They responded with a roar of anticipation and excitement. The man gestured strangely, and the portcullis began to raise.
Taking a defensive stance, Drusus waited for his opponent to appear through the gate. Time seemed to drag as he awaited his foe. Yet, no being seemed to appear. Confusion swept over Drusus as he began to lower his guard. He peered around looking for some sign of a adversary.
As he lowered his chainsword to thigh, a strong force flung him forward. The center of his back arched forward as he heard his spine crack and bend. He once again fell down into the dirt, the rotting stench of flesh assaulting his senses. He groaned loudly, spitting a tiny amount of blood from his mouth. A painful flash enveloped his chest as he tried to rise. He lifted his head up once more trying to gain awareness, when a strong uppercut to the throat sent him flying upward. Gravity seemed to not exist as he was bodily lifted into the air, but it came back as he slammed back down to the hard earth.
The wind was slammed out of Drusus as he made contact with the floor. He had never been in so much pain in his entire life. As he lie upon the dirt, he could feel blood rushing through his entire body. Why couldn't he see his attacker? Was it really that fast? Loud booing and hissing echoed through the stadium. Clearly, the spectators were not satisfied with this fight. Suddenly a sense of spite and hatred rose in Drusus, adrenaline subduing the sensation of pain. Gritting his teeth, Drusus rose off the ground and stood, teetering slightly. He looked forward and saw his torturer grinning manically.
It was a female, tall, lithe, and clearly dangerous. She was almost completely naked, with armor only upon her breasts and upper thighs. She had very long black hair, and incisors that gleamed pearly white as she smiled. Upon her belt were two knives, which looked as if they had been forged by the black-smiths of hell. She stood about ten feet away, hands on her hips, looking at Drusus like he was a poorly behaved pet. While she was certainly the spawn of evil, there was a seductiveness that even Drusus could not deny. Drusus made eye contact with the succubus, and when she winked, he was filled with a righteous rage. He would not let this vile creature antagonize him like this.
“For the Emperor!” He yelled and began to charge forward brandishing the chainsword with two hands. Running with all of his might, he knew that he would have to be bold to have any chance of survival. Once he was within striking distance, the woman stepped back and suddenly disappeared from sight. The momentum of his reckless charge carried his sword forward, lodging it in the earth. He quickly tried to pull it free, but the wych had already landed several blows. She was deadly accurate, ensuring all blows did severe muscle damage. In addition to her accuracy, she was fast. Milliseconds passed as she landed jab after jab. Drusus finally managed to dislodge his weapon and like a crazed berserker began to wildly swing his only hope of survival. The roar of the chainsword pierced his ears, and he flailed attempting to cause some damage. All the while, the demon continued to cause his severe pain. He gradually lost feeling in his arms, and his strength was waning. Slowing his attacks, he felt a presence behind him. With more speed than he anticipated, he whirled around and slashed at the belly of the beast.
The teeth of the chainsword dug into her flesh, unleashing her internal organs. She made a small noise of pain and fell to the ground, clutching her entrails. Drusus backed up and nearly collapsed to the ground. He leaned upon his sword, gasping for breath as the pain soon overpowered his natural endorphins. The wych fell to the ground, breathing heavily, nursing the large gash in her belly. The crowd was deathly quiet, clearly taken aback by this turn of events. Drusus knew he would have to end it quickly. He strode over quickly raising his sword to cleave her body in two. Then he looked again into the eyes of the creature. Pain flashed across her expression, and Drusus felt some sympathy for her. He paused for a moment, considering the fate of this animal.
Suddenly, he felt a gushing of blood and pain located in the crotch of his pants. He paused, gasping in agony, and looked down. One of the knives had been lodged there, clearly thrown by the demon. He collapsed as pain and loss of blood over came him. Rolling over, he grasped the knife, trying to pull it free. As he opened his eyes, the wych was standing above him, holding the other knife in her hand. She deftly threw it in between his eyes. Drusus finally had met his end.